T.R. Ganesha Row vs T.V. Tulja Ram Row And Ors. on 28 September, 1909

Madras High Court
T.R. Ganesha Row vs T.V. Tulja Ram Row And Ors. on 28 September, 1909
Equivalent citations: (1911) 21 MLJ 1093


1. The facts are fully set out by the learned Judge and we think it unnecessary to recapitulate them. It is sufficient to say that the decree in the original suit (C.S. No. 266 of 1886) made Tulja Ram Rao, the 18th defendant, accountable to the family, consisting of three branches besides that of Tulja Ram for a sum of Rs. 3,26,000 and odd. On appeal (Original Side Appeal No. 33 of 1892) he was held to be accountable for an additional sum of Rs. 1,40,000 and the half share in the Scottish Press purchased by him was declared to be family property, and it was also held that he must further account for a sum of Rs. 1,03,000 for his drawings from the press. The share of the plaintiff’s branch in the total sum for which Tulja Ram was held accountable was about Rs. 86,000. While Tulja Ram’s appeal against that decree was pending, a compromise was entered into between the parties by which the plaintiff’s father (the 2nd defendant) renounced his share of the amount decreed; the plaintiff in that suit gave up about Rs. 10,000 out of the amount decreed to him, and a widow who represented a third branch gave up more than Rs. 60,000. Tulja Ram withdrew his appeal and the plaintiff’s father entered tip satisfaction of the decree.

2. It is contended before us that as the plaintiff was a minor defendant in that suit, any compromise entered into by the second defendant, his father, who was her guardian ad litem, is not binding on him as the sanction of the court was not sought for and obtained. It is argued that though a bona fide compromise, by a father or a managing member of a family, of a disputed claim may, in certain circumstances, be binding on the minor members of the family, yet when the minor is a party to the suit he will not be bound by a compromise entered into by his father, appointed by the court guardian ad litem without the sanction of the court nor will he be bound by any such compromise even when a person other than the father or the guardian under Hindu Law is the guardian ad litem, because it is urged, when a guardian is appointed by a court the minor becomes a ward of court and any power which his father or any other person may have to bind his interest in any property in a pending suit is put an end to. We feel that there is a great force in this contention, and if it were necessary to decide the question we should hesitate to hold that a minor would be bound by any compromise with reference to such property without the sanction of the court.

3. In this case, however, a decree had been passed determining the rights of the parties, and the decree made the money (Rs. 86,000) payable to the plaintiff’s father, the third defendant in that suit. No sum was payable to the plaintiff, who was the 6th defendant, in that suit. It is no doubt, true that the money was, by virtue of the Hindu Law, payable to the plaintiff’s father as the representative of the branch of the family consisting of himself and his descendants, whether or not they were parties to the suit, and he was entitled to receive it only as ancestral property, not as separate property. But so far as the question before us is concerned he was the sole decree-holder entitled to enter up satisfaction. Section 462, Civil Procedure Code, only precludes “the next friend or guardian for the suit” from entering into any agreement “on behalf of a minor” without the leave of the court. If, therefore some other person had been the minor’s next friend or guardian for the suit, then the plaintiffs’ father could have entered into the agreement now in question with Tulja Ram, the judgment-debtor, on his own behalf without any reference to Section 462, C.P.C. His appointment as guardian ad litem would not deprive him of his capacity to act on his own behalf. But as the money was made payable to him only as the representative of the family of which he is the head, the compromise he entered into will be binding on the other members, including the plaintiff, only if it is a bona fide compromise of a disputed claim.

4. The learned Judge has held that this agreement (Ex. AA) was part of a family settlement which put an end to disputes between all members of the family and enabled the heads of the three branches of the family which thenceforth became divided from one another – the fourth being represented by a widow – to carry on in partnership the valuable business of the Scottish Press which could have been jeopardized by further quarrels. The plaintiff has not given any oral evidence. The documentary evidence has been read to us. It certainly shows that Tulja Ram believed that he had no grounds for appealing against the decree in the suit. He had competent counsel to advise him. The correspondence also shows that the matters in dispute were discussed fully between the parties and their advisers. The main questions raised in appeal as to the ownership of the half share of the Scottish Press which was purchased in Tulja Ram’s name and his liability for failure to collect over a lakh of rupees due to the family were undoubtedly substantial questions. The withdrawal of his appeal was therefore, in our opinion, good consideration to justify the plaintiff’s father in entering into the compromise. The terms of the compromise differed as between the parties because circumstances were different. We are, therefore, unable to treat the release (Ex. AA) as a gift by the plaintiff’s father to his brother Tulja Ram. Being of opinion, therefore, that the agreement is binding on the plaintiff, we dismiss the appeal with costs.

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